Cosmetic Dentistry Introduction


tooth colored fillings People seek cosmetic dentistry for a variety of reasons. Some people simply want to look younger, and cosmetic dentistry is like a dental facelift that can quickly "reverse" the natural aging process of the teeth. Others, the majority, have had unattractive teeth their whole lives and have always felt self-conscious because of them. They will rarely smile, which can often hide a warm side of their personality.

Modern dentistry offers a wide variety of treatment options for people seeking to enhance their smile. The options range from porcelain veneers to braces! In many cases, a combination of these techniques is required to deliver the best results.

The dentist explains the many different techniques available in the field of cosmetic dentistry and shows you the benefits! If you have ever thought about cosmetic dentistry, this guide can be extremely helpful in understanding what is possible. Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain Laminate Veneers, or simply "veneers", are custom-made porcelain wafers that the dentist places over the fronts of the teeth to enhance their appearance and also to repair damage. Veneers can dramatically change a person's smile and help improve their self-confidence. In the 1920's and 30's, actors, actresses and other performers would often go to the extreme measure of having their teeth extracted and dentures (false teeth) made to improve their smile. Fortunately, this radical procedure has given way to veneers, a far more conservative approach. Veneers are what give many Hollywood movie stars that dazzling smile we see on the silver screen.

Veneers can be used to improve a wide variety of cosmetic dental problems. They can whiten stained or discolored teeth, close gaps between teeth, "correct" a crooked smile without the need for braces, repair chips and imperfections, and create a more attractive or youthful looking smile. The procedure usually involves removing only a thin amount of the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel. The dentist then takes molds (impressions) of the mouth. Temporary veneers are then placed for the patient to wear while the permanent veneers are being made. The procedure usually takes between one and a half and two hours.

Next, the laboratory carefully crafts the porcelain into veneers. In about two weeks, the veneers are ready for the dentist to fasten to the fronts of the teeth. This process improves the teeth's appearance and strength. Tooth whitening

Tooth whitening involves the use of peroxide-based materials to whiten teeth. Most dentists use an in-office and/or at-home whitening system to achieve the desired results. Before tooth whitening, the patient must get all cavities filled, and the gums must be healthy. The in-office systems use 35% hydrogen peroxide gels coupled with a high intensity light to whiten the teeth. The gums need to be protected with some systems, and then gels are placed on the teeth. A laser or plasma arc light source activates the peroxide to oxidize stains on the tooth surface. In about an hour, the teeth become four to six shades lighter.

At-home systems most often use 10 to 20% carbamine peroxide gels to oxidize stains. The dentist makes impressions (molds) of the mouth, and then has soft mouth trays made. The patient is fitted with the trays, and then is instructed to place a thin ribbon of the gel into the tray and wear while sleeping. Most whitening occurs in one to two weeks. In difficult cases, trays may need to be worn for up to six weeks. I have found that a combination of in-office and at-home systems works the best, and routinely achieve between 12 to 15 shades of whitening. The procedure is safe when monitored by a dentist, and does not damage the tooth in any way.

White fillings (resin, bonding) or porcelain crowns (caps) and bridges will not whiten significantly with either method. Some patients will experience minor tooth sensitivity during whitening procedures. The dentist can remedy this by alternating concentrated fluoride with the peroxide in the mouth trays.

Store bought bleaching systems are not as effective as dentist-managed systems. Unsupervised use of store-bought bleaching systems can cause painful sensitivity to untreated dental cavities. The mouth trays are not custom made, which can cause gum irritation, and the peroxides are not as strong or effective. Tooth-shaping

Tooth shaping involves removing a small amount (generally 1 to 2 millimeters) of the enamel of the teeth. Tooth shaping can shorten long teeth, round off pointed teeth, and help create a pleasing smile that gently follows the contour of the lower lip. The procedure is quick and painless (the enamel has no nerves), and is usually completed in less than 30 minutes. A small minority of patients gets slight sensitivity after tooth shaping. This can be remedied with prescription strength fluoride or in-office desensitizers. The procedure does not appear to cause any long-term damage to the teeth.



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